Expanding, improving and reducing energy consumption. EQUANS was able to meet the needs of Heemskerk Fresh & Easy from Rijnsburg with a new refrigeration solution. Now the vegetable processing company is ready for the future. Moreover, condensation on the ceiling is no longer a problem.
‘Double refrigeration capacity, lower energy costs’
Every day, Heemskerk Fresh & Easy processes around 90 types of vegetables and fruit into 275 unique end products. Besides vegetables and fruit, the company also uses eggs, nuts, pasta, meat, fish and dressing for its products. Every day, the end products are transported from the factory to national and international supermarket and fast-food chains. Due to the increasing demand for healthy and easy-to-prepare food, the company was bursting at the seams in 2013. So Heemskerk decided to build an 8,500 square metre extension, redesign the factory space and invest in a new refrigeration system.
”Our old refrigeration system consisted of a freon system and a glycol system. European legislation requires synthetic refrigerants to be phased out. During the renovation, we decided to design a new technical space and update the system in terms of sustainability and energy reduction,” says Rémon Post, Supply Chain Manager at Heemskerk.
In 2014, EQUANS was commissioned to design and build the refrigeration solution. The result? A refrigeration system with ammonia as the refrigerant and CO2 and glycol as the refrigeration media, as well as four new compressors that provide the refrigeration. In the future, the glycol refrigeration can be replaced by CO2. The temperature in the factory is a maximum of 4 degrees Celsius. From the space where the raw materials arrive to the hall where the goods are made ready for dispatch. The result? Even better food quality and food safety.
Erwin den Hamer, Project Manager at Heemskerk: “The quality of the new refrigeration units and drip trays in the factory is so good that they’ll always comply with the food safety regulations. Thanks to the stainless steel, there’s no longer a risk of flaking paint. And the entire refrigeration system – including the pipes and related control equipment – is now located on the roof. Which means that the technician no longer has to enter the production spaces to carry out maintenance. So work on the system will never again lead to contamination of our product.”
During the renovation, the production processes had to continue as normal. “A few hours without refrigeration isn’t an option in our sector,” explains Den Hamer. “EQUANS managed to safeguard continuity by giving us two operational systems. While the old refrigeration system was being renovated and phased out, the new system was already being put into operation. That meant we could continue to serve our market.”
Despite the humidity, the refrigerated production space must be drip-free while the food is being processed in order to safeguard the quality of the product. Moreover, ventilation with outside air also involves bacterial risks that put a great deal of pressure on quality and hygiene. “EQUANS’s innovative solution blows hot air along the ceiling like a hair dryer. That means there’s no condensation and the space under the hot air is at exactly the right temperature," says Den Hamer.
Despite the double refrigeration capacity, Heemskerk’s energy consumption has dropped considerably. Post: “We no longer have to store huge amounts of ice water because the ice water system is twice as powerful as it used to be. That saves us a huge amount of energy. Added to that, we were also able to use the Energy Investment Deduction (EIA), yet another financial windfall.”
“We’re very happy with our working relationship with EQUANS. Theo Disveld was our permanent contact person at EQUANS, and that was a great bonus. As you can imagine, we have every confidence in the refrigeration maintenance that EQUANS will carry out for us over the next 15 years," says Post.